Posts Tagged ‘photo’


Photo Manipulation

January 8, 2010

Photos capture a moment in history, evoke emotions and serve as evidence of the present and past. We rely on photo images and they do worth a thousand words.

With the development of technology, image alteration has become not only a form of art but also a tool for content manipulation. An article on Nation Master explains the history and types of photo manipulation.

Simple color balance or contrast is considered manipulation techniques. However, more serious alterations such as embedding a smoke onto a standing and unharmed building is a completely another story.

Photo Manipulation Record

One of the first cases of photo manipulation dates back to 1860s. A photo of Abraham Lincoln was altered using the body from a portrait of John C. Calhoun and the head of Lincoln from a portrait by Mathew Brady.

This portrait was later used for the original Lincoln Five-dollar bill.

Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth University present an interesting collection of photo manipulation from 1860 to 2009.


Ethical aspect of the photo manipulation in political and journalistic practices does raise questions and lead to

various ethics guidelines.  The question is how to draw a distinct line between art and manipulation? Donald R. Winslow of National Press Photographers Association examined the issue in detail in his article A QUESTION OF TRUTH: Photojournalism And Visual Ethics

Just like any other craft, so does the photo journalism needs guidelines which help us and our colleagues be responsible in our reporting, in carrying our mission effectively and with little harm.

In 2006 Community of Concerned Journalists published a collection of photojournalism ethics guidelines from various publications.

The majority of publications call editors and photographers to exercise caution in the use of “set-up” photographs. Others caution against using photographs taken specifically for news column in advertisements.

Organization of Ethical Photography accepts only minor editing and calls for utmost responsibility. They lay out specific guidelines for cropping, sharpening and color balance .